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CIA/OPR /IM-303-75 

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ClA FEB75 

'^p'°™‘''’°15«N»DEMfWt““fWm MEMORANDUM- THE POLITICS OF ^ 


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Intelligence Memorandum 

The Politia of Uncertainty: 

Spain Prepares for the Post-Franco Era 


OPR 303 
February 1V75 

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25X1 A9A 


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If Franco lingers on 
If the Caudillo dies soon 



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FrancisT'o Franco is dying. While doctors within and without 
Spain disag. -20 as to just when the Caudillo will pass from the scene, 
all agree that his physical decline has begun, and that there is a general 
incapacitation ahead. At the moment, political figures of the e.xtreme 
right have 1 le greatest influence upon Franco, and continue to frustrate 
Prime Minister Arias Navarro’s attempts to add more flexibility to 
the political system. The current dominance of this extreme right 
dampene d the hopes of moderate politicians and groups who sup- 
ported A rias’ proposal to permit independent political associations in 
Spain. ^ oderates are now biding their time. 

Ur. dee Portugal before the revolution, Spain has a larger number 
of leaders and groups with governing experience, and these could 
grow into Jedgling political parties. If these groups are allowed to 
move out of their present quasi-legal status, they could assume an 
active and important role in guiding Spain toward a more pluralistic 
form of government. The outcome of the post-Franco succession will 
depe id, however, on how long the dictator lives and his current in- 
timacy with the extreme right wing — to the almost total exclusion 
of moderate politicians — continues: 

— Prospects are bleaker if Franco lingers on. The extreme right 
is likely to come to monopolize the political process, and prove 
to be inflexible in the face of growing unrest and demands for 
reform. As public order decays, the military might feel impelled 
to take over the reins of government to restore social peace. 
With the assumption of civilian roles, the officer corps will 
become politicized, and significant numbers of j, nior officers 
might turn radical as Spain’s major economic and social prob- 
lems remain unsolved. 

— Prospects are better if Franco dies soon. It would still be pos- 
sible for moderate individuals and groups to rally around Prime 
Minister Arias Navarro, and support his mildly reformist pro- 
gram. Co-operating informally with the military, an Arias 
government might accommodate restrained political de- 
mands, make some gestures to appease labor and regional 
protests, and attain some political stability through a plural 

Whatever the eventual outcome, the unmediate future for Spain 
will be characterized by unrest and uncertainty, and politicians’ dis- 
trust of each other. 



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Francisco Franco has ruled Spain for nearly forty 
years, and the political structure designed to per- 
petuate his rule has few real roots in the population. 
As Franco's health declines his decisions are re- 
flecting a more rigid conserv^atism, and moderate 
groups are coming to think the reforms promised 
by Premier Arias Navarro are being betrayed. In 
the absence of widely based political parties, the 
military remains Spain’s single most poweiful or- 
ganization. Important groups both in and out of 
Spain are beginning to wonder if the recent Portu- 
guese revolution has any implications for Spain. Is 
the same scenario likely to unfold in Spain as re- 
cently occurred in Portugal? 

The forty-year old Portuguese dictatorship re- 
cently fell quickly, easily and unexpectedly. Politi- 
cal institutions disappeared almost overnight. Con- 
servative elements associated with the old regime 
were unable to regroup and organize. Exhilarated 
by a sense of release, the once repressed population 
kent escalating its political demands, and laborers 
engaged in a scries of wildcat strikes. The only dis- 
ciplined political force to emerge was the Com- 
munist party, and its leaders were able to influence 
a new military govertiment that is slowly drifting 

But Spain is not Portugal. Portugal is the least 
developed country in western Europe: at three 
percent its annual rate of growth is the lowest in 
Europe; modes of agricultural and industrial pro- 
duction are inefficient; and scarce economic and 
human resources were used to fight wars in Guinea, 
Angola and Mozambique between 1961 and 1974. 
The old political elite clung to outmoded policies 
and institutions, and was incapable of enacting cv'en 
moderate political reforms. On the other hand, 
Spanish rates of economic and industrial growth 
are high; Spain has not experienced the debilitating 
costs and demoralization of a long colonial war- 
Spaniards arc more educated than Portuguese, and 
Spain has a larger middle class with greater tech- 
nological competence. The Spanish political elite 
is thinking hard about the shape of the country with- 
out Franco, and beginning to prepare for the fu- 
ture. The outcome of events after Franco will turn 
on the resolution of the following key political 

— how long will Franco live, and his current 
identification with the extreme right continue; 

— arc Spain’s institutions flc.xiblc and viable 
enough to incorporate now political forces 
released during a transition period; 

In retrospect the reasons for the downfall of the 
Gaetano regime seem obvious. Gaetano did not 
have the personal authority of Salazar; yet he as- 
sumed office in 1968 with promises of limited re- 
form and a flexible African policy. Over time these 
appeared to be empty gestures as the Prime Min- 
ister backed down, and came to rely solely on in- 
transigent, right-wing support. Moderates felt that 
options in the political arena were denied them. 
Finally in 1974, a group of career military officers, 
resenting their long assignments in Africa and the 
rapid promotion of reservists, politicized their dis- 
content and executed a coup detat. Without the 
presence of Salazar or a figure of comparable 
stature, the political system toppled completely. 

— what are the capabilities of Spain’s political 

— how prepared are the working classes and 
radical opposition to co-operate with a post- 
Franco regime; 

— will the military intcrv'cne in politics? 

The succession will also be acted out as new 
pressures impinge upon the political system. The 
economy is c/iflng/ng. From an era of boom, rapid 
growth, and improving productivity, the Spanish 
economy is facing a period of inflationary strains, 
energy shortages and declining trade balances. 
Europe is changing. From aii area that appeared to 
offer Spain commercial benefits and intcTnational 


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respectability, tiie Common Market now projects 
an image of political and economic disarray. Portu- 
g<d is changing. From a once somnolent and insig- 
nificant neighbor, Portugal is transforming itself 
into what may be a revolutionary nation on the 
Iberian peninsula. These events will influence the 
outcome of pohtical alignments and solutions in 
post-Franco Spain. 


Between 1800 and 1940 Spain experienced 109 
governments, twenty-four revolutions and three 
civil wars, and Francisco Franco assumed power 
in 1939 only after winning the last, devastating con- 
flict. To secure his victory Franco established st.ere 
repression, eliminated political competition, isolated 
the country from the rest of the world, and thus 
prevented economic growth for oi er a decade. For 
Ae sake of domestic peace the population was will- 
ing to submit to the restrictions of authoritarian 

But in the past twenty years Spain has altered, 
and memories of civil war horrors have dimmed. 
Because of an industrial boom in the sixties and 
associated changes in demographic, literacy and 
consumption patterns, Spain is now on the way to 
becoming a modem nation. Spain today is a young 
nation with seventy percent of the population 
having at best faint recollections of the 1936-1939 
period. Ninety per^'ent of the population is literate, 
and higher education is becoming more accessible 
to persons of lower middie-class origin. Nor is Spain 
an impoverished agricultural nation any longer: 
seventy-five percent of the labor force is employed 
in manufacturing and service industries while over 
500,000 others have left the countryside for work in 
Common Market nations. Thanks to an industrial 
growth rate of ten percent, second only to Japans, 
sixty-five percent of all Spaniards own television 
sets, thirty percent own cars, and most consume 
on average about forty-five kilograms of meat a 
year. Through emigration, the annual inflow of 
twenty-eight million tourists and bilateral security 
arrangements with NATO members, Spaniards have 
also become more aware of Huropc. 


Only the political system has not kept pace. 
Francisco Franco remains the center of the Spanish 

political system; he is the head of the armed forces, 
Caudillo of the National Movement,* the church 
is dependent upon him for funds, and no organiza- 
tions that could successfully compete with the 
Movement have been permitted to exist. Without 
open arenas for exercising political talents and skills, 
individuals have tended to use legal institutions 
to further their own ambitions. In consequence 
v'ery few institutions in Spain are monolithic. Franco 
has countenanced the presence of competing fac- 
tions within and without government, military, and 
National Movement, and used them as the situation 
demanded. When for instance Spain’s economic and 
foreign policies w-ere autarkic and isolationist in 
the early fifties, right-wing elements dominated the 
cabinet; in later years modernizing technocrats 
presided over the opening up of the economy and 
international relations. All groups have always been 
dependent upon Franco for political influence. 

At the moment leaders of the right are 
dominating policy decisions. They are not a co- 
hesive group, but men who have access to Franco 
because they fought with the Caudillo in the 1930’s 
or were early ideological defenders of the regime. 
These older civil war officers and Afovement 
founders can turn only to Franco because social 
and economic change has bypassed them. They 
have few institutional supports; younger officers in 
the military seem to favor strict professionalism, 
while the Movement is discredited in society, and 
its members are regarded as hacks staffing its’ owm 
inflated bureaucracy along with those of the in- 
effectual labor syndicates. The Movement is having 
trouble recruiting new members voluntarily, and 
a younger generation of leaders hopes for internal 
reforms to enable it to compete with other groups 
in post-Franco Spain. Thus as Franco s health fails, 
extreme rightists have banded together to dominate 
the Caudillo s few lucid moments and have thwarted 
moderate political change. 

The right appreciated its isolation when Franco 
temporarily gave up power in July of 1974, Although 
he resumed power in September, the possibilities 

*Thc National Movement, Spain’s only legal political 
party, was formed by merging the fascist fo/ange with the 
Carlist J.O.N.S. in 1937 to provide Franco with a political 
arm. All government employees, workers and university 
students are required to belong to the Movement or a 
Movement-sponsored organization. 



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for continued rule by the ailing eighty-t\vo year 
old dictator are not good. The leaders of the old 
right joined forces with members of the ultra-con- 
serv'ative Franco family to undermine Premier Arias 
Navarro’s attempt to permit independent political 
associations to organize. They succeeded: in Oc- 
tober Franco fired Pio Cabinillas, the liberal min- 
ister of information and tourism, and twelve other 
important officials resigned in protest; in November 
Franco listened sympathetically to Jose Antonio 
Giron, head of the newly-formed Civil War Vet- 
erans’ Association and former Falangist cabinet 
minister, w^ho protested any liberalization, how’ever 
moderate. Aftervard, in a demonstration of strength, 
the Movement rallied some 17,000 children to 
pledge support to the continuity of Franco s regime. 
Finally on 3 December, Arias announced that 
Franco w'ould only approve associations authorized 
and controlled by the Movement’s conscrv'ativc 
National Council.- 

Arias asked the public for patience, implying 
that greater changes would come after the Cau- 
dillo’s death. But the longer Franco lives, the more 
likely ultra-conservative decisions will become in- 
stitutionalized, thereby preventing the potentialities 
for change afforded by the constitution from being 


The Spanish constitution is designed to legitimize 
one-man rule. So long as Franco lives, he is chief 
of state, head of the armed forces and Movement, 
and arbiter of government policy. Although Prince 
Juan Carlos de Borbon is the designated monarch, 
he is not empowered to exercise any authority until 
Franco passes from the scene. The dictator also 
retains firm control of the government by presiding 
over bi-w'cekly cabinet meetings, and passing on 
proposed policies and laws. While the Cortes or 
legislature has the legal power to initiate, discuss 
and enact legislation, it has to date played only a 
pro forma role. Members of the Council of the 
Bcalm, w’hich is authorized to settle disputes 
between monarch, cabinet and Cortes, have hon- 
orary functions. 

’Subsidiary requirements, which specify that each as- 
sociation have at least 25,000 members distributed over 
fifteen provinc'cs, further add to the difficulties of smaller 
moderate groups trying to organize. 

After Franco dies, power is to be divided among 
institutions without any traditions of independent 
authority. Prince Juan Carlos will inherit Franco’s 
mantle as chief of state, generalissimo of the armed 
forces and chief of the National Movement, but 
he will not be empow'ered to control the policies 
of government or Movement. The latter pow'ers 
will be vested solely in the prime minister, w^ho will 
also be able to call into question most decisions 
taken by the monarch. Nor will the strength of 
the Cortes be enhanced in post-Franco Spain; the 
legislature will not have the right to over-ride the 
chief of state’s veto or name the prime minister; 
eighty percent of its members will still be appointed, 
and only riventy percent chosen by an electorate 
consisting of heads of families, married w'omen and 
single persons with incomes.'^ Should a conflict arise 
among these three institutions, the now moribund 
Council of the Realm is supposed to act as a kind 
of court of last resort. 

In and of itself the constitution is a neutral docu- 
ment. If consensus obtains among Spanish political 
groups, the constitution can be made to work, or it 
can even be modified to fit future needs and avoid 
potential institutional conflicts. The possibilities for 
success w'ere revealed during the forty-six day pe- 
riod from July to September 1974 when Franco 
temporarily renounced power. Prime Ministei Arias 
and Prince Juan Carlos demonstrated ti..:t ♦bey 
could work together; moderate politicians supported 
them; militaiy^ figures did not intcr\'cnc in civilian 


The viability of the constitution over the longer 
term, however, will depend upon the commitment 
and capacity of Spain’s governing classes. Spain 
has a political elite with sufficient experience to 
run the countiy^. Some of its members have sers'ed 
in the government wdiile others have been permitted 
to exist as a kind of quasi-legal opposition. Nor 
arc its members associated with older civil war 
parties; they are younger and middle-aged men 
with bases in the bureaucracy. National Movement, 
church, economy and the liberal professions. They 

* Once named by the monarch, the prime minister ap- 
parently cannot Ik* dismissed during his five year term of 
offic'e, unless the monarch obtains the consent of the Council 
of the Realm. 



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are a relatively small group with extreme conserva- 
tive to mildly liberal view-points. For the moment 
the moderately conserv ative and liberal members of 
the elite nave given their support to Arias and 
Juan Carlos in face of the extreme rights influence 
on Franco, and hope that the piime minister and 
prince will amend the constitution and laws to 
permit freer expression and autonomous political 
groupings after Franco. 

Although a bureaucrat and former head of the 
security police, Prime Minister Arias Navarro has 
staked his prestige upon political reform. As mayor 
of \Iadrid from 1965 to 1973 he gained a personal 
reputation of being responsive to popular feeling; 
after the downfall of the Caetano regime in Portu- 
gal, Arias sensed the possibility of mild unrest 
among the political elite, and recognized the need 
for aperture, Juan Carlos has his own reasons for 
co-operating with the prime minister. Realizing 
that monarchy is no longer valued in Spain, and 
that he himself is not highly regarded, the prince 
since August has made an effort to establish re- 
laricnships with poL al figures favoring liberali- 

These figures come from w'ithin the accepted 
spectrum of opinion. Because Franco has never 
allow^ed any person or group to become prominent 
enough to compete for leadership, Arias and the 
prince must appeal to a scries of comparatively 
unknown individuals of moderate disposition, many 
of v/hom compete for support within llic same in- 
stitution: each has his own small following or is 
trying to create it; none is very ideological; and in 
one way or another all are opportunistic— they 
wnnt the freedom to form independent political as- 
sociations so as to gain a wider audience. In the 
absence of an open political a»-cna, a number of 
men joined the National Movement in order to 
fulfill their own political ambitions rather than 
out of conviction. The best known of these is Manuel 
Fraga Iribame, who became popular as a progres- 
sive minister of information and tourism in the 
1960s; now ambassador to London Fraga has the 
financial backing of a few wealthy businessmen. 
Other influential Movement leaders are Alejandro 
Rodrigues de Valcarccl w^ho is also president of 
the Cortes, Manuel Cantarcro del Castillo, who at 
thirty-seven heads the Falangist youth organization; 
and Jose Solis Ruiz, who is both a vice-president 

of the Movement and a former official chief of the 
syndical organizations. They would use reforms to 
revitalize the Movement — as well as their own 
positions — and make it a credible political force 
in Spanish eyes. 

Support for reform also exis^’s among eminent 
Catholics. In fact in an overwhelmingly Catholic 
country, the church hierarchy, itself, has taken a 
leading role in the fight for liberalization. Spurred 
on by the papal encyclicals of John XXIII, the pro- 
nouncements of the Vatican Council, and an effort 
to retain the faithful in a secular environment, all 
levels of clergymen have come to favor civil liberties 
and rights of free association. At the latest meeting 
of the Spanish Episcopal Conference in December, 
only six out of eighty-nine attending bishops dis- 
sented from a manifesto calling for greater political, 
economic and social justice. Some bishops have 
gone so far as to support publically parish priests 
w^ho provided sanctuary for political protestors. 
The president of the Conference, Cardinal Enrique 
y Tarancon, has personally called for competing 
democratic parties. 

The lay aim of the church is divided politically. 
The most controversial Catholic organization in 
Spain is the semi-secret, elitist Opus Dei. The ma- 
jority of its members are philosophically conserv^a- 
tive, support economic change, and rarely take po- 
litical stands; they have served in the government 
when called upon as modernizing technocrats. The 
reform of the Spanish economy is associated w'ith 
members Laureano Lopez Rodo and Gregorio Lopez 
Bravo, administrators who were appointed to the 
cabinet in the early sixties. Within Opus Dei, how'- 
ever, there is a competing group formed by the 
new exiled Rafael Calvo Sorer w'hich advocates 
political liberalization, the separation of church 
and state, and the institution of free elections. 
(Although now out of office, Opus Dei members 
are likely to be influential in the future because of 
their talent and expertise in business, the professions 
and governr.'jent ) To combat the conserv'ative in- 
fluence of Opus Dei as a whole, Federico Silva 
Munoz resigned from the cabinet in 1970 and 
worked with the National Association of Catholic 
Propagandists (A.C.N.P.), a coalition of Catholic 



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More conventionally Christian Democratic — and 
participating in the A.C.N.P. — is a grouping of 
younger men called Tacito, a name derivrf from 
the group s column in the newspaper Ya, and led 
by the thirty-nine year old financier, Joaquim Gar- 
rigues Walker. Garrigues Walker plans to organize 
a reformist party ‘'with an emphasis on youth, ac- 
ceptance of existing institutional structures, and 
a rejection of extremism” He presumably has the 
backing of his father-in-law, Jose Maria Areilza, 
the Count of Montrico, a long-time critic of the 
regime. The Tacito group is displacing the civil 
war Social Christian Democratic Party’ still headed 
by the aging but respected Jose Maria Gil Robles. 

Finally some middle-class professionals banded 
together after Arias' 1974 promise of reform to 
create a secular democratic party. Although they 
call their association the Social- Democratic Union 
and find their models in European socialist parties, 
the founders' program reflects a moderate welfare- 
statist outlook. The membership is youthful, and 
Manuel Diez-Alegria, son of the politically mod- 
erate former army chief-of-staff, is a party leader. 
The Union has a far more significant future than 
the exiled Spanish Socialist Workers Party (P.S.O.E) 
in Toulouse, France which is poorly organized in- 
ternally and now dominated by radical elements. 
Professor Enrique Tierno Galvan was expelled 
from the P.S.O.E. in 1965, and speaks for a small 
group of moderate socialists inside Spain. 

All these individuals and groups are eager for 
liberalization. They are essentialy middle-class — 
though seme have ties to the financial and social 
elite — seeking middle-class constituencies. In Spain's 
limited political arena none has had the experience 
of co-operating in broadly based coalitions, or of 
building mass party structures that can bridge 
the gap to alienated working classes. Should reform 
be enacted, middle-class politicians will find them- 
selves competing with a well-organized, clandestine 
Communist party for the allegiance of industrial 
workers and regional separatists. 


Spanish workers have a long history of radicalism. 
To control the proletariat which fought against 
Franco’s armies in the civil war, the Caudillo estab- 

lished industrial syndicates. Though superv’isory 
responsibility is shared between the National Move- 
ment and government, the syndical bureaucracy is 
manned by conserv’ative Movement hacks. Its de- 
partments radiate out from Madrid in a netw’ork 
that includes government representatives, manage- 
ment and labor, and they are authorized to regulate 
the collective bargaining process in every major 
factory. More often than not contract settlements 
have favored business interests. Feeling that they 
were not receiv’ing benefits from Spain's economic 
boom, workers — and only by a very generous in- 
terpretation of consumption statistics would many 
Spanish workers be considered middle-class — began 
to turn the local symdical organizations to their 
owm advantage in the 1960's. 

Comisioncs Obreras, or workers' commissions, 
were formed surreptitiously in larger plants, and 
labor leaders used syndical electoral mechanisms 
to place independent representatives on official 
bodies. Within the syndicates these leaders pressed 
workers' demands for higher wages, improved con- 
ditions and — in Barcelona and Catalonia * — greater 
regional autonomy as well. Despite the efforts of 
the secret police, commission leadership has man- 
aged to perpetuate itself and to use the illegal strike 
as an effective bargaining weapon; protests in- 
creased in intensity through the decade of the 
sixties, and even more are predicted for 1975. 
Because the regime is unable to contain labor un- 
rest, factor}’ managers have come to prefer dealing 
with the commissions, rather than the official syndi- 
cates, in contract negotiations. To date the demands 
of workers have been largely economic, and the 
commissions in individual factories do not appear 
to have yet coordinated their activities with one 
another on any sustained basis. 

But as the Arias government cracks down hard 
on strikes, the clandestine Communist party is 
making inroads among industrial workers. Indeed, 
according to the latest reporting, the Communist 

* WTiile the demands and terrorist activities of rcRionat 
nationalists, especially in the Basque country, are disruptive, 
they do not represent a major political problem; even after 
the assassination of Prime Minister Carrero Blanco in De- 
cember 1973 by a group of Basque separatists, the regime 
reacted with moderation and restraint. A successor regime 
to Franco may have to make some concessions toward grant- 
ing a measure of regional autonomy, ar:d Arias appear*^ 
willing to do so. 



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Party of Spain (P.C.E.), headed by the exiled 
leaders Dolores Ibamiri and Santiago Carrillo, 
seems to have a decisive lead in the competition 
for \vorkers’ support." Since the civil war, unions 
have l^n b^ed, and the exiled socialist and 
anarchist muons have negligible organizations 
within Spain. In contrast Secretary-General San- 
tiago Camllo has maintained a party apparatus 
believed to have five thousand members, and be- 
cause cell members are willing to face arrest, suffer 
harrassment, and generally bear the dangers raised 
by rommission work, laborers have given Com- 
munists their allegiance, at least temporarily. How- 
ever, ^Camllo has not been able to convert the 
party's popularity among workers into a national 
political strike. 

On the whole the P.C.E.’s reputation has been 
enhanced by Carrillos firm independence of Mos- 
cow since 1968, and the C.P.S.U.’s 1974 capitula- 
tion to the Spanish leader in recognizing the ap- 
propriateness of his national strategies.® Carrillo is 
using the workers’ commissions to broaden the 
party s popular base while he attempts to persuade 
moderate opposition figures to join a united front 
coalition called the Democratic Junta. Despite some 
recent overtures to the officer corps, however, he 
has yet to make the party respectable in its eyes. 


The military has had a special role as the guaran- 
tor of the Spanish state from the time FranTO was 
selected to head the nationalist forces in 1938. 
Senior officers have been incorporated in the regime 
as cabinet ministers, members of the national 
council and appointees to the Cortes. Generals and 
admirals of Franco’s generation have always had 
a firm commitment to the conservative outlines 
of the regime, but the officer corps has changed 
beneath them. Since the advent of American aid in 
the early fifties, elite social recruitment has declined 
in favor of middle- and lower middle-class types 
who are dependent upon their careers as sources 
of income. The complaints of the majority of these 

•Communists apparently have a firm edjre on soc.alist 
Catholic and separatist competition for workers’ support. 

• For a time Moscow supported the more pliable, break- 
away facUon headed by Enrique Lister. Carrillo’s inde- 
pendence was made possible by the money he receives from 
anti-Franco exiles in Latin America and Europe. 

twenty thousand officers have been largely pro- 
fessional: they resent slow promotions caused by 
a strict seniority system, long assignments in posi- 
tions of little responsibUity, poorly equipped troops, 
and very low salary scales — ^which compel ap- 
proximately fifty percent of Spanish officers to 
hold second jobs. As compared to civilian engineers 
and administrators the financial rewards of military 
professionals have diminished, but the assurances 
of guaranteed promotions and fringe benefits still 
make the services an attractive career. 

Whether there is significant political discontent 
among Spanish officers is less clear. The military 
has not directly intervened in civilian politics since 
the civil war, but little is known about the politi- 
cal composition of the officer corps, factional 
splits within it, or the ideological preferences of 
commanding figures. All generals and admirals 
fought in the civil war and the extreme rightists 
amoig them retain an undue influence as old allies 
o*^ Franco and his family; others seem more mod- 
erate, and appear to support orderly civilian change. 
Immediately after the assassination of Prime 
Minister Carrero .Blanco in December 1973, the 
now retired chief-of-staff, Lieutenant-General 
-Manuel Diez-Alegria, and his successor. General 
Fernandez Vallcspin, formed a crisis management 
group to curb the excesses of military rightists. 
They wnre aided by a younger generation of officers 
who had attended the staff school under Dicz- 
Alcgria’s principalship. To the left, a miniscule 
group of junior officers was impressed by the 
changes wrought by the new military govern- 
ment in Portugal immediately after the April coup. 

In any event, concern among military- leaders about 
officers joining any future political associations has 
grown enough for the three service ministers ( army, 
navy, and air force) to warn all officers against 
personal involvement in politics. Without Franco to 
protect the officer corps’ interests, its response 
during a period of transition still remains an un- 
known quantity’ in Spanish politics.^ 


Franco’s heirs will have to deal with a new set 
of pressures upon the political system. Ihc economic 

'Arias .sensed this, and his first major defense policy 
speech contained a promise to upgrade the navy's equip- 



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boom is apparentiy over. Spain is almost totally de- 
pendent upon external energy supplies, and the cost 
of importing them has more than tripled to nearly 
four billion dollars in 1974. Real GNP growth 
has fallen from eight to four percent, and infla- 
tion has reached seventeen percent — the worst 
since the civil war. Income from tourism and 
emigrant remittances is stagnating at four and one- 
half billion dollars, and no longer covers the gap 
between export earnings and import costs; Spain’s 
current account deficit in 1974 was three and one- 
half billion dollars. The government is trying to 
keep unemployment levels low, but should produc- 
tion continue to fall and emigrant laborers be 
forced to return from w^estem Europe, unemploy- 
ment is likely to climb far above the officially ad- 
mitted 1.8 percent. On the bright side, Spain’s 
foreign reserve position and credit rating remain 
good, and if emigrants do not return in large 
numbers, problems will be manageable for the next 
two or three years. 

But should the economic dow-ntum become 
severe, a successor regime will have few*er oppor- 
tunities to satisfy diverging interests. The new 
middle-class, fearful of losing its recently won 
possessions, would become suspicious of any 
changes that might seem to reduce its share of the 
economic pie. At the same time, the working class 
would demand more, and there would be fcw'cr 
monetary and job benefits to give them. Industrial 
unrest w'ould increase. In such conditions, politi- 
cal leaders might have too httlc time in which to 
learn the skills of accommodation, compromise and 
party-building needed for a stable transition. 

Perhaps, too, the externally motivated incentive 
to acquire these political skills may be diminishing. 
In tlic past, an important factor contributing to 
the support for reform among Spanish politicians 
w'as the desire to gain respectability for their 
nation in western Europe, along wdth admission 
into the Common Market and NATO. But the ap- 
jxjal of Europe may be foundering; European 
economies have been weakened and made vulner- 
able by the energy crisis, and constitutional govern- 
ments seem less able to contain the threats of mass 
strikes, domestic Communism and separatist terror- 
ism in Spanish eyes. The post-Franco leadership — 
especially a rightist one — might feel less impelled to 

redeem Spain's reputation among the trouble- 
plagued European democracies. 

Most significantly, attitudes tow’ards the funirc 
may become less flexible as a result of the Portu- 
guese revolution. The extreme right — with large 
demonstrations and new organizations — has 
ready indicated its unwillingness to accept any 
basic political reforms lest a similar revolution 
occur in Spain. In contrast, moderate elements 
arc insistent that changes be enacted quickly to 
prevent such a revolution. Arias w^as in the latter 
camp wiien he attempted to add more bite to the 
associations law^ after the April coup in Portugal. 
The right thw^arted his effort, as wxil as his plans 
to alter the electoral and syndical systems. 

For as long as rranco lives, uncertainty and 
stalemate will prevail. The ailing dictator remains 
the arbiter of Spanish politics. Right-wing friends 
and family are monopolizing his attention, while 
moderates are biding their time and waiting for 
the end. Neither group expects to see Franco 
again demonstrate his old flexibility of favoring 
one faction and then another to create political 

If Franco lingers on . . . 

The longer Franco lives — whether he formally 
relinquishes power or not — the less easy and 
obvious the outcome of the transition is likely to 
be. As it continues to influence Franco’s thinking, 
the extreme right will grow more confident about 
the future. Some of its members arc even now pre- 
paring to take advantage of the new' association 
law'. Moderates arc divided and w'avering; men 
like Fraga Iribarne arc willing to try their hands 
at forminr organizations while others are hesitant 
and fear that any connection to the National Move- 
ment wll hurt their chances of winning support 
from the electcjate. The extreme right will gain 
an edge in organization-building, and seek to rally 
the support of a middle-class afraid of losing its 
economic position. 'Through Franco, the right will 
continue to bring pressure upon the Arias govern- 
ment, and probably will cause the prime minister 
to tighten press law's and to halt any significant 
syndical and municipal electoral reforms; the 




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prince has no clout with which to counter such 
moves, and his reputation, already shaky, is apt 
to dimhiish. Rightist elements are almost certain 
to exert even more pressme on the government in 
hopes of bringing about Arias' resignation. 

If Franco lingers on over the next two or three 
years, Spain will become even more polarized: the 
political right and petit-bourgeois interests will be 
ascendent; moderate politicians will be alienated; 
the working classes will be further radicalized, and 
the Communists will grow stronger among them. 
Under these conditions labor unrest is bound to 
escalate, and the right — ^with or without Franco 
by then — ^may not be able to control it. Either 
called in by the government or on their own in- 
itiative, the armed forces would then enter politics 
to restore order. With the assumption of civilian 
functions, groups of officers resenting the burden 
of underwriting an isolated and ineffectual dictator- 
ship in western Europe, might feel impelled to re- 
form Spain fundamentally. Spain could then expe- 
rience the abrupt and cataclysmic turn-about of 
1974 Portugal. 

If the Caudillo dies soon . . . 

But if Franco dies within the next twelve to 
eighteen months, the chances for a stable transition 
are better. Barring the unlikely event of a last- 
gasp right-wing c >up attempt — the military would 
probably react vigorously in the face of unconsti- 
tutional actions from any quarter — ^Arias and Juan 
Carlos will have the opportunity to solidify their 
support among moderate and less intransigent polit- 
ical groupings. During the lull provided by a period 
of national mourning, bargaining and compromises 
that would bring prominent figures into government 
could be reached. And acting on his earlier policy 
statements. Arias* new cabinet could present a 
pro gram that in the guise of a modem 'Trancoism” 
wc jld permit more electoral and party representa- 
t?.;n in the Cortes, some syndical reform and a 
dv gree of regional autonomy. No politician or fac- 
tio \ is as yet strong enough to replace Arias or 
totally thwart such a program; the military will not 
be inclined to interfere with civil affairs immediately 
so long as public order is preserved, and the Com- 
munists will try if they can to dilute workers* de- 
mands in order to win political respectability. But 

the initial stages of the transition in the year or so 
after Franco will be characterized by tension, muted 
conflict and wary steps towards a new political 

Even should Franco die scon, difficulties will 
emerge: will Spanish politicians be able to restrain 
their personal ambition and competitiveness for 
the sake of greater national good? Will they be 
able to forego grandiloquent gestures and high- 
flown rhetoric for the stolid work of daily political 
compromise and the nitty-gritty of party-building? 
Coming out of the shadow of Franco, die skills of 
prominent Spanish politicians are untried. In the 
past individual ambition and an instinct for behind- 
the-scenes maneuvering sufficed, and at first many 
will probably be content with the recognition 
brought by cabinet positions. Jjs associations or 
parties are formed, open politicking vdll mean 
little more than collecting splintered votes from 
a conservatb^e middle-class; real competition will 
continue to be conducted out of public view among 
prominent individuals and factions. But the politi- 
cal system will be a more open, fluid form of 
authoritarianism than under Franco. 

The gap between the regime and the working 
classes remains to be bridged, and political leaders 
will have to see that it is in their own self-interest 
to accommodate labor and linked regional demands. 
The more thoughtful among them — ^including Arias 
along with Fraga, Garrigues Walker, the younger 
Diez-Alegria and a majority of the hierarchy — 
have already advocated a kind of trade-unionism 
that would allow workers to organize locally and 
negotiate contracts at their factories; they are 
gambling on proletarian energies becoming ab- 
sorbed in legal activities, and so diminishing labor’s 
vulnerability to Communist and other radical in- 
fluence. It is a risky business, because the workers’ 
commissions are likely to increase their strikes 
during the transition period, and politicians will 
have to be persistent in the face of strong opposition 
from the right-wing. While the extreme right nc 
doubt will try to sway sympathetically inclined 
old time officers, the military will hesitate to inter- 
vene in civilian politics so ^ong as the government 
appears moderate in its views, capable, and main- 
tains a firm grip over public protest. 


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Even should appropriate labor legislation be 
passed, the gap between the establishment and 
the workers will still exist. However, labor is not 
united enough to bring the nation to a total halt 
as in France or Italy and thus raise the specter of 
another civil war. And if domestic peace is not 
shattered completely, the military would continue 
in its role as guarantor of the regime. Both officers 
and civih’ans share a commitment to the general 
outlines of Francos state. The majority see room 
for moderate, legally enacted reforms,® and all are 
fLmly anti-Communist — the party will be banned 
as it is now. Relations between the military and 
government are likely to be closer after Franco; 
without the presence of a reassuring, mediating 
figure, an informal consulting arrangement can be 
expected to grow up, and the prime minister and 
prince would take the precaution of approaching 
senior officers before making any major, unexpected 



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policy moves. Unless unforeseen pohtical and eco- 
nomic forces were to appear on the scene, Spain 
would manage to achieve a loose, flabby sort of 

In any event, the leaders of post-Franco Spain 
will for some time be pre-occupied with internal 
political and economic problems; and while they 
would welcome admission into NATO and the EC, 
they will be prepared to bargain hard for concrete 
security and commercial benefits. They will watch 
events in Portugal with concern, continue to cul- 
tivate relations with the Communist and Arab 
worlds, and — ^perhaps as a symbol of Spanish in- 
dependence — give voice to a loud but superficial